Seminary of the Southwest to honor three Austinites at May 12 commencement

April 28, 2009

The Seminary of the Southwest (SSW) in Austin, Texas will confer two honorary degrees and a trustee's award during its commencement on May 12.

The Rev. Charles James Cook, who retired from full-time teaching at SSW at the end of 2008, and Austin-based writer J. Keith Miller will receive honorary doctoral degrees. Carrielu Christensen, veteran member of the seminary's board of trustees, will receive the trustee's award. The Rev. Canon Charles K. Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, will present the commencement sermon.

A 1974 graduate of Seminary of the Southwest, Cook taught pastoral theology, servant leadership and created the seminary's St. Luke's, Atlanta, January Term course where seminarians take part in that church's extensive outreach work. "In his 24 years as teacher, mentor and colleague here, Charlie has personified the dedicated, creative and innovative spirit of this school and has embodied the principles of pastoral leadership which he teaches," wrote faculty colleague the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Kittredge as Cook's retirement from full-time teaching approached. Fellow faculty members honored Cook with the establishment of the annual Charles James Cook Servant Leadership Award.

An author, speaker and lay leader, Miller has written or co-authored 24 books including A Taste of New Wine that has sold two million copies and been translated into 11 languages. The topics of his books range from Christian living, addiction/co-dependence and self-realization to spiritual formation, devotion and entrepreneurial business. In addition to being an author, Miller is a renowned public speaker and leader of retreats and conferences. He studied theology at Berkeley Divinity School, received a graduate degree in theology at Earlham School of Religion, and a master's degree in psychological counseling from the University of Texas.

Christensen was first appointed to the Southwest board of trustees in 1989, served seven years in the 1990s and rejoined the board in 2000. She has worked on strategic planning and trustees board committees during that time. Christensen ensured the architectural integrity of the interior design of the Scott Field Bailey Center at Rather House. The recently completed $3.6 million renovation project of the century-old Rather House provides a welcoming entrance to the seminary campus and houses three floors of administrative offices.

More details of Southwest's commencement are available here.

Related Topics: